Major Water Users
The department has changed all fill-in forms to PDF fill-in. You will be able to save and reuse these PDF forms. However, you will need Adobe® Acrobat® Reader® 7 or higher to save the PDF fill-in form. Also, at this time the department does not accept digital signatures. If your Acrobat Reader prompts you to use one, we ask that you don't.
Any surface or groundwater user with a water source and the equipment necessary to withdraw or divert 100,000 gallons or more per day (70 gallons per minute) from any stream, river, lake, well, spring or other water source is considered a major water user in Missouri. All major water users are required by law to register water use annually. The Department of Natural Resources does not regulate the use of water – only the amount of water a major water user has the potential to use.
Missouri shares water resources with many other states, some of which regulate water use and have already established their demand for water. It is important for Missouri to document our need for water and to protect our right to that water. Registering major water use establishes a user's need for water and helps the department understand the water needs of Missouri citizens. The major water users data will:
- Provide important information required for technical assessment of current and future requirements for the regulation of water.
- Help the department gain foresight on water supplies.
- Help apply conservation measures during periods of limited or diminishing supplies of water.
- Help the department when determining where to locate stream and reservoir gauges as well as groundwater level observation wells.
Water shortages can have severe and expensive consequences. Adequate water supplies are vital not only to human health and safety, but also to the prosperity of our state. Whether it is for crop irrigation, industrial manufacturing or power generation, water is at the core of human existence and sustainability. A few decades ago, the supply of water in Missouri was considered virtually unlimited. As population and industry have increased, a need for statewide water planning has emerged. No meaningful water planning can be performed without accurate accounting of water use.
Annual Registration Online
Our enhanced online application is now available. Please use the link below to register annual water use online as the preferred method.
- Major Water User Registration Instructions for Existing Registrants – PUB2389
- Major Water Use Online Registration Instructions for First Time Registrants – PUB2388
- Major Water Users Frequently Asked Questions Concerning the New Annual Water Use Reporting Forms - PUB2236
- Frequently Asked Major Water User Questions – PUB2337
Printable, Fillable Registration Forms
- Major Water Use Registration – MO 780-2019
- Major Water Use Registration for Mines and Quarries – MO 780-2020
If you have questions about registering as a major water user, please contact the department's Water Resources Center. We are happy to help.
Missouri Water Resources Center
P.O. Box 250, Rolla, MO 65402
There are no state laws, regulations or policies that specify the quantity of water that any diverter may use. Missouri is a riparian water law state, and all landowners touching or lying above water sources have a right to a reasonable use of that water. Recent case law has established the reasonable use criteria that the Missouri Supreme Court has been following. Reasonable use requires that other users and landowners not be overly impacted in an adverse manner. The department published a summary of Missouri Water Laws to provide more information on the subject.
If you would like to request Major Water User data, please visit the Sunshine Request page.